This golden age is clearly evident here in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland companies are doing more and more business with China as we benefit from close economic ties.
Northern Ireland’s exports to China have increased by 58% from £60million in 2010/2011 to £95million in the last financial year to March 2015. There is an appetite for Western goods and services that our local companies are successfully filling.
Last December the first Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China arrived in Northern Ireland and on the 8th June the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr Wang, was in Belfast with the Chinese Ambassador to the UK to formally launch the new Consulate-General.
We have been advised that two officials from the Ministry of Commerce will be based in the Consulate in Belfast in due course. This means Belfast will be the first Chinese Consulate in the UK to have officials from the Ministry and this is clear recognition of the importance that China is now placing on Northern Ireland.
The Consul-General and her team have been very active in engaging with Northern Ireland companies and stakeholders since coming here and I have no doubt we will have a strong and mutually beneficial relationship going forward.
The Northern Ireland Executive has shown its commitment to China by setting up a Northern Ireland Bureau in Beijing. Planning for the official opening of the Bureau is underway.
Invest NI which has had a presence in China for many years, with an office in Shanghai which has recently expanded to include three Trade Advisors and the addition of the Beijing office in 2013.
Invest NI’s expert Trade Team in Belfast is on-hand with advice and guidance to help you prepare to export to China. In addition our Trade Advisors in Beijing and Shanghai can provide tailored market research, arrange individual appointments for your company and support you while you are in market.